Oh, my God! This thing is real! You are the great Teacher, and when your Spirit dwells within a member of your body, then You the Teacher begin to teach, and the vessel that you speak through becomes a teacher of God. For it is no longer them that lives but Christ that lives in them. As Paul the apostle and teacher of God said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2: 20).
And really, this message, the death of the old sinful self, is the foundation of the temple of God. We are His temple; consequently, our foundation must be the crucifixion of self, which is how we repent, and faith toward God, which is believing that He raised us up when He raised Christ up. That is the foundation that we are to build on. That is the cornerstone of the apostles’ teachings that we are to continue in (Acts 2: 42).
When we are baptized, we are immersed into His death (Rom. 6: 3). The water symbolizes to all that this is done. And what does “His death” entail? His death is the death of our old sinful nature; it is the end of our sin and sinning. “For He has made Him to be sin for us, who did no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5: 21).
Christ carried our sinful nature on Him; He was the scapegoat offering. He put an end to sin in us, for when He died, our sinful self died. When He was buried, our old self was buried; and when He was raised–HalleluYah!–then we too were raised to walk in a new life! Where old things are passed away! Behold, all things are become new!
“For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin–because anyone who has died has been free from sin” (Rom. 6: 6-7 NIV). We are not bound to sin anymore; we are not under that bondage anymore. Believing in the His resurrection is the key because when we believe it, we are believing that we are being resurrected from the death that comes from the sinful self. Death is destroyed when our sin is put to death on the cross with
Christ. Ingenious plan!
Just the Beginning
This makes us a child of God. Wonderful, yes, but it is just the beginning of our walk with Him. It is the first step, the first stones to be laid in the foundation of us His house. Yet many new Christians are content to remain here as little children of God. But we are admonished to “go on to perfection,” to full maturity in God’s life cycle, for He is all about reproducing Himself. That is His plan and purpose.
But how do we continue growing? What steps must we take? What knowledge do we need, what spiritual meat was He talking about when He said to children of God that He had more advanced teachings for them, but they were “dull of hearing.” He was saying, You ought to be teachers of these advanced things of God, but you “have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God and…have need of milk and not strong meat” (Heb. 5: 11-14).
Babes need milk to grow. And that spiritual milk is comprised of the “principles of the doctrine of Christ,” which leads to Christian “perfection,” which is maturity.
These first foundational teachings of Christ are outlined in Hebrews 6: 1-2: repentance from dead works [sin], faith toward God, doctrine of baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
And to get to full maturity like the early apostles, we must get these solid in our new life in Christ and then–leave them! We must not circle them like the Israelites circled the same old mountain. Forty years they wandered, and only two out of millions went into the Promised Land! We incorporate these teachings into our spiritual life, but we don’t remain there. These doctrines serve as our foundation in Christ, but to fulfill His will for our lives, we must leave them. They are stepping stones for the princes and princesses of the King! They are pre-requisites; they are means and not the end-all-be-all. To complete our royal destiny, we must grow in grace and knowledge and “be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine.”
And we Christians will leave the first principles of Christ’s doctrine and “go on to perfection”–if God permits. He wishes that all of us were prophets. He loves us and wants us to be just like Him. And more importantly, He has provided the way through the first two gifts of the Spirit–the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge, the tools of the trade for His teachers.